Leader of Violent International Drug Trafficking and Gambling Enterprise Sentenced to More than 21 Years
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California
Assistant U. S. Attorneys Andrew Young (619) 546-7981, Benjamin Katz (619) 546-9714 or Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9604
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 15, 2017
SAN DIEGO – Owen Hanson, the leader of the violent “ODOG” racketeering enterprise, was sentenced to 255 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for leading an international drug trafficking, gambling and money laundering enterprise that operated in the United States, Central and South America and Australia from 2012 to 2016.
According to court records, ODOG trafficked thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA (also known as “ecstasy”), marijuana, anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”). As Hanson admitted, ODOG’s drug operation routinely distributed controlled substances at wholesale and retail levels, including selling performing enhancing drugs to numerous professional athletes. The organization also operated a vast illegal gambling operation focused on high-stakes wagers placed on sporting events. The Enterprise used threats and violence against its gambling and drug customers to force compliance. One particular victim who owed ODOG more than $2 million described in graphic detail at today’s hearing how Hanson sought to collect the debt by sending DVD’s to the victim and the victim’s wife showing beheadings, as well as a photo of victim’s desecrated family’s gravestone.
United States District Judge William Q. Hayes explained that a severe sentence was warranted because of the “staggering” and “astounding” size and scope of ODOG’s criminal activities. Noting that Hanson moved hundreds of kilograms of drugs, all over the globe, month after month made him truly an “international drug trafficker.” Judge Hayes commented to Hanson: “It is difficult to understand how you got here, other than greed.”
According to the government’s sentencing papers, Hanson’s criminal activity started while he was a football player at the University of Southern California, where he “birth[ed] his drug trafficking empire by selling recreational drugs and steroids to his teammates” of a national championship football team, and used his business degree to “to build a criminal enterprise that exploited people at their lowest moments.”
“Transnational racketeering organizations like ‘ODOG’ represent a clear and present danger to the safety and security of our communities, our country, and our international partners,” observed United States Attorney Adam Braverman. “From shipping enormous quantities of dangerous drugs around the globe, to operating illegal bookmaking enterprises, to laundering millions of dollars in criminal proceeds, the breadth and scope of Hanson’s illicit activity was truly staggering, and is directly reflected by the more than two-decades long sentence imposed today.”
“Dismantling major international and national organized criminal enterprises is a longstanding area of Bureau expertise,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum. “The goal of the FBI is to bring down entire organizations, especially those with a wide reach. Today's sentence, along with the 21 other convicted co-conspirators, emphasizes that the 'ODOG criminal organization' will no longer traffic drugs on our streets; will no longer run its illegal gambling ring; and will no longer bring violence upon those who are obstacles to their greed and desire to grow an illegal and dangerous enterprise.”
“The long prison sentence handed down today is appropriate and well deserved. Mr. Hanson was held accountable for his brazen actions as a leader and an organizer of a criminal enterprise,” stated Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe of IRS Criminal Investigation. “The government will now use asset forfeiture as the final lever to seize a significant portion of the illegal proceeds generated by this drug distribution and gambling operation. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice.”
Hanson’s criminal career was ascendant when the FBI took down his operation. According to sentencing papers, “Hanson showed no signs of stopping this criminal activity. He bragged to undercover agents about the success of his operation and his aspirations to be even bigger. In the days leading up to his arrest, Hanson communicated with an undercover FBI agent to coordinate a methamphetamine deal. The night before Hanson was arrested, the undercover agent sent Hanson a message letting him know the deal was done and that the methamphetamine was ‘fine stuff.’ Hanson replied, ‘Told u – we don’t **** around.’ In response, the undercover agent thanked Hanson and told him to get a good night’s sleep. Hanson replied, ‘Money doesn’t sleep.’” Ultimately, the government argued that Hanson’s downfall brought down others, noting that associating with Hanson “turned gamblers into bookies, drug addicts into dealers, and friends into felons.”
In addition to serving more than 21 years in prison, Hanson was also sentenced to pay a criminal forfeiture in the amount of $5 million, including $100,000 in gold and silver coins, a Porsche Panamera, two Range Rovers, luxury watches, homes in Costa Rica, Peru and Cabo San Lucas, a sailboat, and interests in several businesses.
So far, 21 of the 22 defendants charged in connection with this case have pleaded guilty, including:
- Luke Fairfield, a San Diego based Certified Public Accountant who assisted Hanson with laundering the proceeds of his various illegal endeavors by setting up shell corporations and advising members of the Enterprise on how to structure bank transactions to avoid detection by bank security and law enforcement;
- Derek Loville, a former professional football player, who pleaded guilty to distributing retail quantities of drugs for the ODOG Enterprise in Arizona;
- Daniel Portley-Hanks, a Los Angeles based private investigator who assisted Hanson with tracking down delinquent gamblers and other individuals who owed the enterprise money; and
- Jack Rissell, an “enforcer” who, in one instance, travelled from Southern California to Minneapolis to attack a delinquent gambler
One remaining defendant, Khalid Petras, awaits trial.
The case arose out of a joint investigation by FBI and the New South Wales (Australia) Police Force in conjunction with the New South Wales Crime Commission. Hanson was initially indicted and arrested on September 9, 2015 after arranging the delivery of five kilograms of cocaine and five kilograms of methamphetamine. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Andrew P. Young, Benjamin Katz and Mark W. Pletcher are prosecuting the case.
DEFENDANT Case Number: 15CR2310-WQH
Owen Hanson Age: 34
Luke Fairfield Age: 40
Kenny Hilinski Age: 39
Giovanni Brandolino Age: 42
Daniel Portley-Hanks Age: 70
Jack Rissell Age: 50
Derek Loville Age: 48
Chalie D’Agostino Age: 52
Marlyn Villareal Age: 32
Dylan Anderson Age: 34
Tim Bryan Age: 48
Jim Muse Age: 53
Jeff Bellandi aka “Jazzy” Age: 50
Curtis Chen Age: 33
James Duley Age: 41
Dee Foxx Age: 35
Khalid Petras Age: 55
Rahul Bhagat Age: 31
David Kipper Age: 35
Todd Oldham Age: 32
Daniel Ortega Age: 42
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Racketeering Conspiracy to Conduct RICO Enterprise Affairs, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)
Maximum penalty: Life in prison, fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, forfeiture of any property obtained or operated by RICO enterprise, 5 years’ supervised release.
Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846
Maximum penalty: Life in prison, fine of $10,000,000 or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, forfeiture of any proceeds, 10 years’ supervised release.
Federal Bureau of Investigation – San Diego Field Office
Internal Revenue Service – San Diego
Australian Crime Commission
New South Wales Police Force
New South Wales Crime Commission
*As to defendant Khalid Petras, the charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Updated December 15, 2017
Press Release Number: CAS15-1215-Hanson